By Mike McIntyre
Andy Murray defeated 80th ranked Mackenzie McDonald of the United States on Monday in DC at the Citi Open in his first hard court match since March of 2017
The former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champ is trying to work his way up from 832nd in the ATP rankings following a lengthy layoff that was prolonged due to an elected hip surgery earlier this year.
Making his return to action last month on grass, Murray lost in his opening round match against Nick Kyrgios by a close score of 2-6, 7-6, 7-5. He then played in Eastbourne - again on grass - where he won his first round encounter against Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3 before falling to countryman Kyle Edmund for the first time in his career 6-4, 6-4.
The 31 year old Murray wisely elected to skip Wimbledon as he did not know how his hip would react to a best-of-five format so soon into his comeback.
In his match against McDonald on Monday, Murray lost the opening set but battled back after a rain-delayed day to prevail 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a battle that lasted over two-and-a-half hours. Murray sealed the victory on his seventh match point opportunity. The win sets-up a re-match against Edmund in the second round.
"I enjoyed getting through that one," Murray revealed after the win. "You could see it in the celebration. That was a tough match. It could have gone either way. It was nice to win it."
It doesn't appear that Murray is being troubled by the hip which is more important at this stage of his return than the wins or losses. Already with the first round victory he will see his ranking shoot-up into the 600s on Monday.
Next up for Murray after DC will be the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Murray has won there in 2010 as well as when the event was hosted in Montreal in both 2009 and 2015. Check back with us here at ProTennisFan for daily coverage from the Canadian Masters 1000 as we will have writers and photographers there throughout the event. You can also follow us on Twitter for timely updates and analysis.